Saturday, December 30, 2006


Saddam Hussein is to be hanged very soon. Good coverage via Pajamas Media here.

Predictably, there are some who believe that Hussein should not be executed.

For the record, here is a sample of Hussein's legacy:

  • Mass murder of Iraqi Shi'ites, including attempts to wipe out the Shi'ites in the marshes area in southern Iraq. Many mass grave sites have been uncovered with the capacity to hold tens of thousands of people.
  • Mass murder of Iraqi Kurds. In one instance in 1988, he was responsible for the death of 5,000 Kurds in Halabja through the use of chemical weapons.
  • Torture of thousands of Iraqis who lived in a fear state for decades. People were put into industrial shredders feet first, so that they could remain alive for as long as possible to experience the pain. Children and babies were physically tortured in front of parents to get the parents to confess to crimes, whether committed or not.
  • The invasion of Kuwait, that resulted in the death, rape and torture of thousands of Kuwaitis, all war crimes.
  • US$25,000 payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers (up from US$10,000 before 2002), thereby funding terrorism.
  • Use of chemical weapons and firing of Scud missiles into civilian areas of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, two war crimes.
  • Firing of Scud missiles into civilian areas of Israel during the first Gulf War, a war crime.
For those on the receiving end of Hussein's evil, justice will have been served when this genocidal totalitarian dictator is executed.

Those not directly affected by his brutality are free to argue against capital punishment.

One final question: if Iraq authorities record the execution for Iraqi TV, who else outside of Iraq will show it?

UPDATE: Graphic (though not gratuitous) video taken by a witness on a mobile phone camera is on Google Video here. It seems Western news media showed the lead-up to the execution, but not the execution itself.

In the case of murderous dictators, the widespread witnessing of their deaths serves an important purpose. The immediate audience is the average viewer, but the ultimate audience is the not-so-average dictator still in power.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who Is To Blame?

Bittersweet news from Israel today. Adir Basa'ad, a 13-year old boy injured by one of the many Qassam rocket attacks, is now off the critically injured list. Also, 14-year old Matan Cohen, the other boy injured in the same attack, will not lose his leg. These boys deserve our prayers for their full and speedy recovery.

As expected, the sympathetic coverage from ABC News Online hides any news of the boys' horrific experience behind the post titled Israel to resume Gaza strikes. With no mention of the boys' names. Surprise, surprise.

The question remains: who has the blood of these young boys on their hands? Particularly coming after the month of restraint shown by Israel.

Is it the fault of Islamic Jihad who have claimed responsibility as a response to "Israeli breaches in the ceasefire" (presumably the ones about to happen tomorrow).

Is it the fault of Hamas who "control" Gaza? (I use the word "control" loosely)

Is it the fault of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah who have raised Palestinians on a diet of Jew-hatred via PA-controlled TV, education and mosques for the last ten years (reconcile this with the fact that the median age of Gazans is 16 years)?

Is it the fault of the Palestinians living in Gaza who provide the sea in which the terrorists can swim?

Is it the fault of the Iranians hoping to wipe Israel off the face of the earth via their franchising of terror to the local lads of Islamic Jihad?

Is it the fault of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Amir Peretz who - from Jerusalem - have courageously withstood the daily barrage of attacks on Sderot to show restraint?

Is it the fault of the US and European diplomats who pressure Israel in the belief that non-military means can stop missile attacks?

Is it the fault of the international community that through the UN has - though its misguided attempts to find a cure - allowed the wound to fester rather than heal?

Is it the fault of the Jews who "incite" Islamic Palestinians by their presence in a land controlled by Muslims occupiers at some point in history (ignoring that it was inhabited before that by Jews) - land that is called Israel today?

All of Sderot's children deserve answers to these questions today. Otherwise we risk them becoming tomorrow's victims of terror.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Pajamas Media highlights a Washington Post article that describes Muslim leaders in the US standing up for what is right.

Local Muslim leaders lit candles yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis, in a ceremony held just days after Iran had a conference denying the genocide.

American Muslims "believe we have to learn the lessons of history and commit ourselves: Never again," said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society.


If anyone wants to make Holocaust denial an Islamic cause, he said, "we want to say to them: You cannot use our name."

Museum officials said a Muslim delegation had never before made such a public statement at the memorial building.


The idea for the ceremony originated with Magid, whose Sterling mosque has been active in interfaith efforts. After hearing radio reports about the Iranian meeting, "I said to myself, 'We have to, as Muslim leaders . . . show solidarity with our fellow Jewish Americans,' " Magid recalled after the speeches.

He contacted Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor active in inter-religious dialogue, who asked the museum to hold the ceremony.

"It's important that the world knows there are Muslims who don't believe in this [Holocaust denial]," Ahmed said after the ceremony. Also in the delegation were representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Bloomfield, the museum director, noted that Magid delayed his trip to Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage by a day to attend the ceremony.

"That's a pretty strong statement," she said.
Read the whole article here.

It is no coincidence that this happened in the US rather than Europe. The American environment is more conducive to moderate Muslims being able to show their true colours in public. In Europe, moderate Muslims are more likely to keep quiet with radical Islamism on the ascendancy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

ABC = Active-voice Bias Corporation

A recent posting highlighted ABC's bias, cluelessness or both.

It looks more like bias.

Check out the headlines below from their Middle East Conflict section and see if you can spot the odd one out:

Two Palestinians killed in more factional fighting

5 killed as Gaza fighting rages

One killed in Gaza hospital gun battle

Woman's death adds to rising Gaza toll

Palestinian Foreign Minister's convoy attacked

Officer loyal to Abbas killed after election call

Israel kills 2 Palestinian militants
With the exception of the last headline here, the party doing the killing is never mentioned in the active voice.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

ABC = Australian, Biased and Clueless

A quick perusal of the headlines in ABC News Online's Middle East Conflict section highlights how they are clueless, suckered by spin, and desperate to believe Palestinians factions embrace diplomacy and avoid violence.

In chronological order, the headlines are:

Woman's death adds to rising Gaza toll
Palestinian factions agree to talks
Gaza gunfire continues despite agreement
Palestinian cease-fire appears to hold
Abbas stands by election call
Kidnapped Fatah official released
One killed in Gaza hospital gun battle
5 killed as Gaza fighting rages
Palestinian leaders call for end to fighting
The awards for spin are:

1. Palestinian cease-fire appears to hold
2. Palestinian leaders call for end to fighting, and
3. Palestinian factions agree to talks

Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just Another Day

Civil war in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah. Not sure if civil is the right word. Maybe terrorist war is more appropriate. Includes a gunfight in the hospital. Nice.

Syria's President Bashtard Assad has allegedly sent a letter to Olmert to establish peace talks. Or perhaps not. If the said letter does indeed exist, then based on Middle East dynamics, this means one of two things: Assad is under pressure, or wants to lull Israel into a false sense of hope and optimism. The appropriate thing to do would be to ignore any overtures. It provides the most hope for Syrian dissidents and reformers.

The Iranian local elections are not going the way of Mahmoud Am-mad-about-jihad. Which means his vote-riggers are underperforming relative to his opponents' vote-riggers.

Meanwhile, Hizbollah smuggles some more rockets into south Lebanon. UNIFIL keep their eyes averted from this and looking into the sky for Israeli overflights.

Iran gets closer to the day they can deliver a nuclear weapon. At least the good news is that UPS wouldn't refuse to dispatch it.

The rest of world sits like kids at a magic show, watching the diversionary Holocaust Denial Conference in Tehran. Once again, the Iranian magicians have managed to keep the West's eyes off the spinning centrifuges.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Tale of Two Conferences

Contrast these two conferences.

One a top-down conference of evil in Iran, discussing the Holocaust. Read "questioning the Holocaust". And therefore, in Ahmadinejad's logic, the question of Israel's legitimacy. Bret Stephens discusses the implications of it here.

The other, a grassroots conference called Media as Theater of War, the Blogosphere, and the Global Battle for Civil Society.

Israellycool's Aussie Dave is a speaker at this conference, and I look forward to hearing how it went.

View From the Front

Three years ago, I was fortunate to visit Israel and be taken around by an amazing tour guide. He is incredibly knowledgeable about Israel through all the ages, including the one to which he now contributes.

His name is Mark Deckelbaum, and is Canadian born and bred. He is often responsible for guiding senior politicians, diplomats and other eminent guests. And then occasionally people like me. Contact me (neozionoid at gmail dot com) and I will put you in touch with him if you are considering a trip to Israel.

Mark periodically updates me and others on what life is like in Israel, and what real Israelis are thinking. With his permission, I am posting his thoughts from a week or two ago. A very engrossing read.

A sampling of this week's news – Hizbulla trying to get more power in Lebanon. Will there be another civil war in Lebanon. Will there be another Hizbulla war in the summer. Are the Syrians and Iranians going to take over our northern neighbor? More Americans killed in Iraq. How much more blood will be shed in Iraq. Is there a way to avoid civil war? Will there be a new American realpolitik (as opposed to moral politics) led by James Baker. Oh, and how about that atomic bomb in Iran? Ceasefire in Gaza is allowing Hamas to get stronger. Should we react to missiles landing in Sderot or give the Palestinians yet another chance. Will Gilad Shalit be released by the Hamas for 1000 prisoners? Is our Prime Minister going to be talking to the Saudis? What will be with the two kidnapped soldiers that began the Hezbollah war? What will be the conclusions of the various committees investigating the last war? Will more officers be removed, will there be more ministerial resignations. What will be with the trial of our Justice Minister forcing a kiss from a soldier? How about the president and his sexual misbehaviour, will he be forced to resign.

Oy, how about some good news for a change? Lebanese factions decide that all must be done to avoid civil war. Lebanon government disarms Hezbollah…Syrian's President Assad says he is willing to recognize Israel and is willing to compromise on issue of Golan Heights. Iran and Iraq decide to use their oil wealth for massive improvement of life of their people including education and development. Hamas recognizes State of Israel and says Arafat was bad for the Palestinians. Israel's minister of defense resigns, admitting he is not up to the job. President of Israel resigns. Does Israel really need a President?

How naive I am. I guess that is why I am a guide. Lately it has been difficult reading the news. It is worrisome. Maybe I am also guilty of putting my head in the ground. We have to remember that things are fine. Our economy has had a great year. We have had more investment in Israel this year than ever before. Unemployment is down to close to 8% compared to close to 11% a few years ago. Terrorist activity is negligible compared to what it was 2-3 years ago. Israelis are filling up the hotels on weekends, enjoying a sunny warm November. Tourism is improving. The Christmas season is going to be full with Jewish groups (a bit ironic).

Ok, enough of that. Let's at least comment a bit about the news.

Lebanon – worrisome. Hezbollah has rearmed, is trying to take over power, and wants a stronger Shiite representation in government. It could mean having an Iranian ally to our north. Scary. Can Europe and America stop it? What is worse – Syria controlling Lebanon or a civil war? Sounds a bit like Iraq when Saddam Hussein was dictator.

Iraq – So America leaves, a civil war starts, America supports Sunnis against Shiites (fear of Iranian connection); a Sunni dictator wins and slaughters many of his citizens (mostly Shiites). Who says history does not repeat itself? Other solutions. Have no idea. Please note that there are not many Israelis giving advice these days. We strongly supported the war in Iraq, but now we are very afraid of what seems to be happening there.

Israel – A desire for things to be quiet for awhile till the next round. But who can we trust. It looks like there will be pressure for Washington to work with the Hamas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Optimism For Never Again

JR Oppenheimer once said that an optimist "thinks that this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist knows it"

Here is blind optimism at work:

In one of his first acts since leaving his post as US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton will on Thursday call for legal proceedings against Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad for incitement to genocide.

Mr Bolton will join Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian attorney-general, and Nobel peace prize winner Elie Wiesel in claims that a series of public statements against Israel constitute a crime under the Genocide Convention.


Mr Gold told the FT that while “most people think of [legal proceedings against] genocide in terms of setting up tribunals after the crime has been committed”, the challenge was to stop genocide before it begins.

“The question is, what specifically can be done? Let the Security Council meet and discuss the issue,” he said.

Read it all here.

The top two voting blocs in the UN are the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Nations, which means most African countries. Despite this, the UN failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and the genocides of Rwanda and now Darfur.

Add to that the UN's record of anti-Israel resolutions, and the Human Rights Council, which has surpassed its predecessor - the Human Rights Commission - in its obsessional focus and criticism of Israel.

Finish off with the UN Conference on Racism in Durban a few years back where Jewish and Israeli delegates were vilified and threatened - verbally and physically.

Now, revisit the attempt to get the UN to side with Israel in bringing Ahmadinejad to justice before he brings Armaggeddon to the Jewish state. Any wagers that this will succeed?

Mark Steyn gets it spot on here:
I think one of the horrible and contemptible aspects of our generation is that we're posers. You know, after 1945, everybody said never again. It's chiseled on the markers in front of concentration camps all over Europe. Never again. Never again. And we thought those words meant something. And in fact, the never again event turns up all the time. It turns up in Rwanda. It turns up in Darfur. it turns up when we sit by and listen to people like Ahmadinejad pledging to wipe Israel off the face of the map. And we think that that is just like a kind of rhetorical ploy in the opening of negotiations. We don't understand that he does mean it, that he wants a world, and certainly a Middle East, but preferably a world, without Jews. And I think we are morals posers, and these are perhaps the most hollow words of our time, those words, never again.
Is this going to be another case of "never again"?

How Embarrassing

Israellycool highlights a Guardian article that rubs salt into the wounds of the UK's Biased Broadcasting Corporation (BBC):

BBC World has been dropped by Israel's satellite provider Yes TV in favour of the newly launched al-Jazeera English.
Australia's own Al-Jazeera Broadcasting Corporation should be worried about a future takeover.

Crazy Clerics' Crescent Extends

The Shia crescent was originally described by King Abdullah in late 2004:

If it was a Shia-led Iraq that had a special relationship with Iran. And you look at the relationship with Syria, Hezbollah, Lebanon than we have this new crescent that appears that would be very destabilizing for the Gulf countries and actually for the whole region.
Nothing wrong with a Shia crescent. Unless you're a paranoid Sunni.

Or if the Shia crescent is led by the Iranian clerics, keen on a date with Armaggeddon.

Iran's mad mullahs extend their influence over Iran, Iraq (through Moqtada al-Sadr), Syria, Lebanon (through Hizballah).

And more recently in the Gaza Strip and West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria). Via the Sunni terrorist organisation, Hamas, according to Haaretz journalist Amos Harel:
Members of the Israeli defense establishment are concerned by the close ties that seem to be developing between Iran and Hamas.
During his visit to Tehran last week, Haniyeh said Iran constitutes "strategic depth" for the Palestinians.
Iran is actively contributing funds to boost these ties, and recently committed $250 million, which unlike previous grants will constitute a regular transfer to cover various PA expenses.
"These gifts are not free," Israeli security sources told Haaretz. "The Iranians are expecting returns: a rise in influence among the Palestinians and Hamas compliance to their orders."
Additionally, Iran's influence has been extending into South America.

The mullahs may be religiously mad in their ends, but are very pragmatic in their means.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

ABC + Reuters = Sympathy for Hamas

ABC News Online - either wilfully or blindly transcribing off the Reuters feed - dropped a clanger in the last sentence of this article in their Middle East Conflict section:

Unity talks broke down partly over Hamas's rejection of Western demands to recognise Israel.
How unfair of the West to demand Hamas recognise Israel, eh?

It does raise two interesting questions:

1. Why are none of the remaining 190+ countries in the world on the "demand to be recognised" list?

2. If it is only the West that demands Hamas recognise Israel, then how many other countries are indifferent? How many oppose demands to recognise Israel?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rick Santorum: 21st Century's Winston Churchill

Claudia Rossett posts about outgoing US Senator Rick Santorum here.

Senator Santorum gave his farewell speech in the US Senate, the transcript of which is here. It's an awesome speech.

What a contrast to this other farewell speech.

The Good News and the Bad News

Good News: Kofi Annan gives his final speech as UN Secretary General (woohoo!). In a time when the free world is threatened by Islamofascists and totalitarians with nukes, what did Annan decide to focus on?

Kofi Annan, nearing the end of his tenure as U.N. secretary-general, urged the United States on Monday to shun go-it-alone diplomacy and human rights abuses committed in the name of its "war on terror."
"More than ever today Americans, like the rest of humanity, need a functioning global system through which the world's peoples can face global challenges together," Annan said. "And in order to function, the system still cries out for far-sighted American leadership, in the Truman tradition."
It gets better:
"It is only through multilateral institutions that states can hold each other to account. And that makes it very important to organize those institutions in a fair and democratic way, giving the poor and the weak some influence over the actions of the rich and the strong," he said.
Kofi Annan preaching about accountability. Thoughts come to mind: Oil for Food, peacekeeper rape, prostitution and paedophilia scandals in Congo and Haiti, the anti-Israel Human Rights Commission being superceded by the even more anti-Israel Human Rights Council. Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia. More sexual abuse by peacekeepers. Kojo Annan and Cotecna. Congo, Somalia ... fingers starting to ache listing these out ...

The irony in the second sentence knows no bound. The UN is more about enabling voting blocs of undemocratic tyrannies than it is about fairness and democracy. One democracy one vote, one tyrant one vote. By giving the poor and weak influence over rich and strong at the international level, the UN has enabled rich and strong tyrants at the intranational level to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing on the poor and weak.

But now the Bad News.

From the same Reuters article:
Annan steps down at the end of the month, to be succeeded by Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea.
Looks like the UN isn't shutting down with the departure of Annan, then.

Monday, December 11, 2006

ISG Quote of the Day

Page two of the Iraq Study Group Executive Summary:

Given the ability of Iran and Syria to influence events within Iraq and their interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq, the United States should try to engage them constructively.
Earth to James Baker. Earth to James Baker. Come in James Baker.

Friday, December 08, 2006

ABC: All Quiet on the Anti-Western Front

Omission is one of the tools used by journalists to appear objective when they are not. After all, how can you be accused of being biased for something that you didn't write?

Hamas Prime MiniTerrorist Ismail Haniyeh is visiting Tehran. While there, he reaffirmed his rejectionist position towards Israel.

The headlines currently splashed across the home pages of many of the Israeli websites are in chorus with each other:

Arguably this is more a spit in the eye for the West than it is for Israel. In particular, it must hit the Europeans hard, who desperately hang onto the notion of dialogue as the sole means of conflict resolution. The only time Europe shows any resilience and will is after their diplomatic strategy is torn to shreds: they are soon back with Plan B. Or in this case, Plan T.

Now, check out ABC News Online's Middle East Conflict site and see how they are covering it:

Nice photo of Haniyeh's visit to Tehran.

No story. Perhaps not yet. Perhaps never.

Stay tuned. But don't hold your breath.

The Week That Was

1. The resignation of John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN. From the Heritage Foundation, the words of Anne Bayefsky:

"In the midst of this display of visceral hatred of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, inimical to everything the UN was created to oppose, came a singularly powerful voice for reason, dignity and honesty – Ambassador John Bolton. The crowd assembled in the General Assembly hall was hostile to the man and to the country he represents. But Ambassador Bolton took the podium and spoke with no rancor and no double-talk. Here is part of what he said: 'This problem of endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systemic problem that transcends the whole panoply of UN organizations and agencies.... The consequences of this persistent, unconstructive, biased approach are painfully clear - not one single Palestinian is helped and the United Nations continues to be discredited by its inability to confront...the Israel-Palestinian conflict in a serious, responsible manner.' Nobody clapped – in contrast to the applause which the same crowd had lavished on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez when he referred to President Bush this past September as the devil. John Bolton, however, wasn't looking for accolades. In a room where the US has one vote among 192 states, he simply spoke truth to power. 'We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is little more than a self-serving and polemical attack against Israel or the United States.' The strength of his conviction and the veracity of his message reverberated around the room. Ambassador Bolton used his role to explain what America stands for and what it does not. This is exactly what makes an ambassador great, and United States UN Ambassador Bolton one of the greatest."
—Anne Bayefsky, Hudson Institute, 11/20/06
2. The admission by incoming US Secretary of Defense that Israel , breaking the convention that Israel has an ambiguous nuclear weapons policy, and the US doesn't interfere with this. From Ha'aretz:
Incoming U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a Senate committee on Thursday that Israel has nuclear weapons, and that this partially explains Iran's motiviation to acquire nuclear weapons.

"They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons - Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf," he told the Senate committee during his confirmation hearing.

This was said during a confirmation hearing where the nominee is normally extra careful with his/her words.

3. The Iraq Study Group released its findings. One of the main recommendations was to coopt the Syrian and Iranian terror masters in an effort to reduce terrorism and chaos in Iraq (keywords "fox", "guard", "chicken coop"). Now I am wondering if the US will handle the Iraqi security keys to Maliki, or to Ahmadinejad and Assad.

Further down in the recommendations, the realists propose that a peace agreement between Israel and its neighbours - Palestinians and Syria - will solve the problems of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. The Madrid Conference all over again. And they are the realists.

Part of the peace agreement will include considerations such as Israel returning the Golan Heights and negotiating on the "right of return".

Jerusalem Post here:
... the Iraq Study Group report released Wednesday that called for a Madrid-style peace conference as well as direct Israeli-Syrian negotiations that could lead to a return of the Golan Heights.
ABC News Online here:

"This report is worrisome for Israel, particularly because, for the first time, it mentions the question of the 'right of return' for the Palestinian refugees of 1948," the [senior Israeli] official said, who declined to be named.

Others disagree with the idea, including a blogging US soldier:
The Iraq Survey Group’s findings or rather, recommendations are a joke and could have only come from a group of old people who have been stuck in Washington for too long. The brainpower of the ISG has come up with a new direction for our country and that includes negotiating with countries whose people chant “Death to America” and whose leaders deny the Holocaust and call for Israel to be wiped from the face of the earth. Baker and Hamilton want us to get terrorists supporting countries involved in fighting terrorism! If I am the only one who finds something wrong with that then please let me know because right now I feel like I am the only person who feels this way.
I guess this soldier will never be a politician or part of talkfests like the Iraq Study Group. Which itself is not a criticism.

On the bright side, however, the report was welcomed in some quarters, as Ha'aretz reports:
Syria welcomed the Iraq Study Group report on Thursday, praising its emphasis on the need to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict and reiterating that Syria's priority is to regain the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Syrian official said the report was "positive in dealing with the role of Iraq's neighbors in helping to bring about security and stability in Iraq," the agency said.
I look forward to next week.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Iran Supreme Leader Seriously Ill

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei has been rushed to hospital according to none other than Iran expert Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media here. Ledeen has previously asserted that Khamenei is suffering from terminal cancer.

Ledeen also has some other interesting information about Iranian happenings including power struggles, sabotaged aeroplanes, protests and strikes.

ABC + Reuters = Misleading in General

This is the latest Reuters photo that ABC News Online is showing on its Middle East Conflict section:

Check out the caption. Notice the words "a general view".

There are two possible meanings to the caption:

1. this is the general view of the "barrier" only for the section near Abu Dis, or

2. this is a general view of the "barrier", and the photographer just happened to choose a point near Abu Dis to take the photograph.

It is unlikely to be the first since use of the word "general" for a very small section of the "barrier" seems awkward. It is like saying "a general view of the earth seen through an electron microscope".

It therefore is more likely to be the second. And that would make the caption misleading, since around 5% of the "barrier" is a concrete wall, and 95% is chain-link fence, as stated in Section VI of this document. It is not a general view at all. Read more about the fence here or here.

Could this be the first time the ABC has chosen to focus on a small minority and infer that it is the general case?

In the spirit of the ABC and Reuters, here is my attempt at being an ABC online editor:

A general view of the American countryside, near Wall St in Manhattan, New York

And, given ABC's lack of context and coverage, you were wondering what its purpose was:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Evil and Eviler

In the terror stakes, they agreed to call it a draw.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Iran's New Secret Weapon

The Praying Madmantis.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Shining the Light

Good news doesn't travel fast in the MSM. In fact, it doesn't even travel in the MSM at all.

As covered before here and here, the double whammy would be positive developments coming out of Israel, that are unrelated to war or terrorism.

So here's another dose of "light unto the nations" stuff that would drive the MSM crazy, courtesy of Israel 21C:

1. Israeli company MediTouch are developing an electronic glove to rehabilitate stroke patients and others with hand disabilities. Watch out for this company, as the product looks to become mass produced shortly.

2. The Israeli Agriculture Ministry's Division of Avian Diseases laboratories near Tel Aviv are heavy into research to fight avian flu. Guess who came to visit and learn new diagnosis techniques? Four vets from Gaza. Will this prevent rumours among the shrill of Zionist Avian Flu being used as a biological weapon? Stay tuned.

3. Kudos to
Prof. Shulamit Levenberg of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at Technion for his award from Scientific American in the Top 50 hit parade of scientists for 2006. Her work is in the field of tissue engineering, which has nothing to do with how best to prevent kids from putting used Kleenex's back in the box. Read here what it really is about. It's pretty amazing stuff.

4. Israel has its first Bedouin foreign consul,
Ishmael Khaldi. He takes up his post in San Francisco in December, having spent his early years in a tiny village in northern Galilee. A great moment and example for a country that provides opportunities for all.

That last one evokes a memory from a visit to Israel a few years ago.

I visited the Knesset where I was fortunate to meet with some MKs including Ephraim Sneh and Isaac Herzog. I was taken on an initial tour of the building, shown around the grand foyer and told much about the history of the building and its artwork.

The most striking moment happened at the start of the tour. The guide introduced himself, "Hello, my name is Mohammed, and I am your guide today".

This to me was uplifting. Here I stood, in the halls of parliament. A parliament in a vibrant Western democracy country. A country surrounded mostly by rejectionist or unfriendly states. A country in the midst of a war with a terrorist non-state. A country defending itself against those who used the Islamism as a catch-cry to wage jihad against the Jews and Zionists.

And my official guide in this parliament is a Muslim. Among the countries in the Middle East, Israel arguably provides the best opportunities for its citizens, regardless of their religion. I suspect this infuriates Israel's enemies.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

UN Debated, Darfur Decimated

Time is a precious commodity. So are people's lives. Let's see how the UN are prioritising their precious time to save lives.

From the ABC News Online article:

The UN General Assembly on Friday capped a three-day debate on the rights of the Palestinians in a series of resolutions reaffirming the need for an Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestinian and Syrian lands.

By a vote of 157 in favour, seven against and 10 abstentions, the 192-member Assembly "reiterates its demand for the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (Heights)."
Now let's switch to a Reuters article:
The top United Nations human rights body will debate sending an "urgent assessment mission" to Sudan's Darfur region in an emergency meeting later this month, according to a draft resolution circulated on Friday.
The six-month-old Council has come under pressure from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others to confront atrocities in Darfur, where some 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes since early 2003.
And they were Reuters' words.

Now that we know genocidal crises will be dealt urgently and as a matter of priority by the UN, we can focus in more detail on some of the UN's conclusions from the three-day talkfest.

Here are some useful points that apply here (though the author discloses he is not an international law expert):

5. In 1967 Israel was attacked by Jordan, which at the time ruled the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel had no obligation, under international to vacate any territories until its foes entered into a meaningful peace agreement.

6. Later in 1967, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242, Notably, the resolution calls for Israel to withdraw from "territories" (not "all territories" or "the territories") as part of a peace agreement by which Arab states would end their belligerence against Israel. Today, most Arab states remain in a declared state of war against Israel.

7. Having acquired the West Bank in a defensive war, Israel later began building settlements on the West Bank. The settlements were built solely on land belonging to the Jordanian government, and not land belonging to individual Arab owners.

8. As a general rule, international law forbids the permanent annexation of territory, even after a defensive war. However, Israel's settlements did not violate this rule, because they were built in areas where no internationally-agreed international border existed. (See points 4 and 6).

9. Later, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel, and renounced all claims to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Jordan's renunciation of the West Bank necessarily included a renunciation of all claim to West Bank land which had been owned by the Jordanian government. The renunciation therefore perfected Israel's legal ownership of the former Jordanian government lands in the West Bank.

10. Even if the last sentence of point 9 is incorrect, a nation has no obligation under international law to surrender control of territory to an entity which is in a state of war with the nation. The constitution of the PLO and the Hamas charter both explicitly call for the destruction of the state of Israel. Accordingly, Israel has no international law obligation to give any territory to a government controlled by the PLO or Hamas. (Had the PLO followed through on its promises in the Oslo Accords, and actually ended its war against Israel, the legal situation might be different.)
Some further thoughts from yours truly:

1. The "Palestinian land" is from a legal standpoint "disputed territory". This is because there are equally valid claims to the land by two sets of indigenous peoples: the Jews who inhabited the land thousands of years ago, and Arabs more recently.

Practically speaking, it is a different story. The overwhelming majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, which accepts that indigenous Arabs can have their own state. Recent polls confirm that a slight majority of Palestinians do not support a two-state solution, and a solid majority support the so-called "right of return", thereby rejecting the right of Jews to live in the Jewish state of Israel.

2. Is the UN contradicting Resolution 242? The new resolution "stresses the need for (a) The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967;" which is similar to the words in UN Resolution 242:
Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict
Most striking is the omission from the new resolution of the line that appeared next in UN Resolution 242. Here is the full excerpt (emphasis added):
Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
Notice the word both and the second principle. These are now absent from the new resolution.

3. In an earlier post, I predicted that Canada would be joining the US, Australia and a small group of micro-nations in voting against anti-Israel resolutions. In a series of six resolutions, Canada voted Against three times, abstaining twice and voting For only once. The Canadian migration to moral clarity and fortitude continues.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ya'alon to NZ Arrest Warrants: Take a Hike

That was former IDF chief Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon's response to the arrest warrants that were issued then overturned. From Jerusalem Post:

Ya'alon was spared from being arrested during his trip after the Auckland District Court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of war crimes stating a "suspicion of committing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949," a criminal offense in New Zealand under the Geneva Conventions Act 1958 and International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000. The court issued the warrant after several lawyers contacted the police to urge Ya'alon's arrest.
Lawyers. How surprising.

"I am continuing to hike in New Zealand after a week in which I conducted public relations activities for the Jewish National Fund and for the State of Israel," said Ya'alon.

"I did not flee from anywhere nor do I intend to flee. I was out of reach, hiking in a forest, when I heard of the uproar in Israel," continued the former chief of staff."

Regarding the proposed legal proceedings against him, Ya'alon said, "I am fully aware of the intention to make a claim against me, but thankfully New Zealand is still one of the countries which enforces the law correctly and does not allow people who want to stir up public opinion, to use Western means to attack people like us on democratic missions, as opposed to those on missions of terror."

I assume those same lawyers will be bringing arrests warrants against those radical Islamist terrorists who manage the quinella of human rights violations against moderate Muslims or Arab Christians, as well as war crimes against Israeli civilians.

I was among a small group who recently met with Moshe Ya'alon. A very impressive and principled man, he is pessimistic about both the peace prospects with the Palestinians, and the future of Europe a la Mark Steyn, Oriana Fallaci, Bat Ya'or, Bernard Lewis and Melanie Phillips.

At a push, his suggestion for the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) is for security affairs to be handled by Israel, and civil affairs by the Palestinians at a local level. A 'bottom-up' approach, but probably be a generation before any changes to this arrangement could be possible.

In contrast, he offered no practical solution for Europe to dig itself out of its decline, other than a hopeful 'they will wake up'.

One could argue the same about those Kiwi lawyers.

UPDATE: Israellycool covers the story in more depth here. And goes one better in the pun stakes with the title.

Bookmark Israel

First covered by Israellycool here, Israel has (re)launched its blog called Isrealli (

It is the official blog of Israel, and it hasn't taken long for them to start pumping out a significant number of blog posts.

If you are looking for the one-dimensional view of Israel as a military machine and a people at war, then this is not for you.

However, if your curiosity about the country has been stirred, you will find out a lot about Israel and Israelis.

As an example, there's a post about an indie Israeli band called MissFlag who are now a hit on MySpace. (As an indie fan, this piqued my interest).

Bookmark it and enjoy.